Lately something’s been bothering me, but it wasn’t until a friend share an article with me, which I will discuss below, that I even realized it.
I’m a non-ghost hunter. I jaunt to haunted places. I don’t use equipment to investigate the places I travel. My studies are quiet, non-intrusive, observant. I’m more of a ghost experiencer.
This often leads me to be discounted and diminished in the eyes of those who do “true” investigating. True in quotations because most are not truly investigators either, even though they like to fancy themselves that. Most are posers copying what they’ve seen others do on TV. Most, but not all.
This is a major gripe with me. I’m not sure how it came to be that anyone with a team started feeling they were more important in the paranormal community than anyone else, but there’s a definite hierarchy out there if you buy into all that.
I don’t. Luckily, most of the paranormal investigators I associate with don’t either. They treat me with nothing but respect and are as humble as the days are long. Which is why I associate with them.
It’s the ones who ask, “So do you investigate?” and get all put out when I explain what I do. Or who cope a superiority complex. They usually end up saying something like, “Oh, so you’re really not anything more than an enthusiast.”
No, but if you need to pigeon hole people like that you and I aren’t destined to be friends anyway.
My friend Phil from the New York Shadow Chasers is one of the good guys. He comes from an academic background for his day job. He works with the scientific method even outside of paranormal investigating. He’s on a quest for answers. Real ones. Not just, “Ooo! Lookie here. I asked a question and my recorder here caught a disembodied voice.”
He shared a very thoughtful article with me: “Always on the Margins: Paranormal Investigators and the Politics of Culture” by Kirsten A. Thorne, PhD.
Dr. Thorne expressed her sometime frustration with being a part of the ghost community. Not because of conflicts that often occur within it like what I referred to above, but because of how she feels like what she described as a “liminal being” and the lack of being taken seriously by scientists and academics of other disciplines.
Paranormal investigators, mediums, and researchers into the field of survival of consciousness are occupying a liminal space by virtue not only of their object of study, but of the interplay between investigator and the other worlds they enter at will. One must occupy these liminal spaces in order to understand them; in other words, the subject of your research turns you into an object of it, as well.
As researchers into what cannot be objectively quantified, we are at the margins of science. We are truly at the margins of academia, since only psychology opens up any doors for such work, but only as a satellite discipline. We don’t receive big grants for our work, we are forced to conduct research in isolation from other disciplines, we are rarely recognized for our results and most of all, we are excluded by both popular culture (who seeks to turn us into vapid ‘ghost hunters’ with bags of tricks) and by institutions of higher learning (who scoff at our methodology and our very existence).
Her article resonated with me because even “ghost hunters” sing the blues and feel looked down and diminished sometimes too. Except what happens with her comes from outside the paranormal community.
We are all of us who explore the paranormal in whatever way we do it kindred spirits at the end of the day. Yet, we’re also alone.
Because I operate without benefit of other team members when I haunt jaunt (save for my husband who mostly accompanies me, and sometimes my trusty pup Murph), what I do I do alone. Which is fine. By nature I’m a loner and used to being alone.
Except, after reading Dr. Thorne’s article, I realize I’m not as alone as I think. How did I even learn of the article? From a friend. I may think I operate alone, but I don’t. People read my words, have liked the Facebook page I created for Haunt Jaunts, interact with me there or through emails, invite me to events and, yes, share things with me. Like this article.
No, I don’t investigate in the way TV shows have made popular. But I’m on a quest just the same.
I’m trying to calm something restless within my own spirit. Questions that were unlocked on the a couple of occasions when the veil between our world and whatever’s beyond parted and I stole a glimpse into something…else. Something that didn’t make sense, yet made sense, but that I could not replicate or explain. I wanted answers to what I saw and experienced. I wanted to experience it again. Still do.
I may never get my answers. Although, being part of a community where I interact with others who have had similar experiences which have led them to seek answers too, whether they do it like I do or with equipment, helps. I’ve learned I’m not alone in more ways than one.
I loved how Dr. Thorne summed up her thoughts in her article. I’ll borrow some of that to end my post:
Nothing I could have measured objectively, nothing I could have quantified, would have taught me what I learned that day. We have data from that investigation that document alterations in temperature and EMF activity, in addition to two fascinating EVP; however, what I knew from direct experience happened in a semi-trance state where I had temporarily been allowed to glimpse the past and receive, via mental transmission, answers to my questions. It was a life-altering experience that changed forever how I understand time and the perceived limitations of death.
If you are engaged in this ongoing research of the soul, you are the ghost that you seek to contact.